June 17 (Reuters) - Roger Federer celebrated returning to the top of the world rankings by defeating Milos Raonic in the final of the Stuttgart Open on Sunday and lifting the 98th tour-level title of his garlanded career.
The 36-year-old, who by reaching the final had already guaranteed his return to world No.1, supplanting Rafael Nadal when the new rankings are released on Monday, continued his domination over the Canadian with a 6-4 7-6(3) victory.
Federer’s 78-minute win, sealing his first Stuttgart triumph, was the perfect tonic for the Swiss in the build-up to defending his Wimbledon crown, having extended his unbeaten 12-month sequence in grass court matches to 16.
Federer, who beat Raonic en route to winning Wimbledon last year, broke the Canadian’s powerful serve just once in the third game but with his own delivery proving unbreachable, it was enough for him to win the first set.
In a decisive tiebreak after no breaks in the second set, a double fault from Raonic paved the way for Federer, playing his first tournament in 11 weeks after giving the claycourt campaign a miss, to claim victory.
On Monday, Federer will begin a record-extending 310th week at the top of the rankings before seeking to defend his Halle grasscourt crown. If he manages to do so, he will then seek a landmark 100th career title at Wimbledon. (Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar)